Lenten Confessions : WWRD? (What Would Rita Do?)


Cinnamon-Sugar Loaf, aka Easter Weekend Breakfast

I guess it’s time for confession, which is a rather Catholic thing to do, is it not? I’m not Catholic, but as you know, I decided to give up baking during the Lenten Holiday to honor the memory of my grandmother (a practicing Catholic). I was a very good girl during those long weeks of Lent, and I’m feeling rather proud of myself, too (which somehow negates the good behaviour, right?). Random urges for baking powder biscuits to go with homemade soup? Denied! Cookie cravings from Guppy and Monsieur Fish? Ignored. Thankfully I live in the country of the baguette, so at least fresh, cheap and tasty bread made up for the yeast-ban chez nous.

Besides being a positive way to honor her memory, this little break from baking was a wonderful reminder for me to ignore my “inner three-year-old”. Though I’ve only been baking (or cooking, or preparing food requiring more complex food preparation than slicing bread and boiling water) for a hair under two years, I’ve really taken to it. I relish in the DIY aspect of home food preparation, feeling like an artist, a craftsman and a renegade against the machine of forced consumerism. And it’s tasty. And so much healthier.


Check out that cinnamon-sugar layer!

However, even those of you who like me have but a rudimentary understanding of physics know : energy doesn’t just disappear. Equal and opposite reactions and all that – sound familiar? When I broke my foot/ankle last November, something rather strange began to happen. The time and energy that I so carefully poured into my training had to go somewhere, and it seemed to find its way into the oven. I wasn’t actively aware of this happening initially : for me it was about recipe testing, holiday baking for gift-giving and get-togethers, etc. but as the holidays came to a close I still found myself wanting to bake. Needing to bake.


You can see the cinnamon-sugar layering magic here, too

In retrospect, I believe that baking helped me reclaim a feeling of control I felt I’d lost. I couldn’t control my leg being in a cast or incompetent physical therapists, but I could control proportions of flour to sugar to yeast. Healing times eluded me, but baking times became as natural as my running rhythm.

I’m thankful that I didn’t chose a more self-destructive outlet for that pent-up energy (says the former smoker), but I felt like it was time to gently step away from the oven mitts and remember what brought me to wanting to bake in the first place : a desire to create healthful deliciousness for my family and friends.


Oh delicious Molasses Bar, just unwrapped and ready to be eaten!

Lent technically ended on Easter Sunday, but I admit to ending my Lenten baking fast nearly 5 days prior. That being said, I don’t feel guilty or ashamed about breaking out the cupcake tins. Guppy was having a party at school, and I was having Spring parties for two of my children’s English classes. The idea of purchasing pre-made baked goods for these events briefly flashed before my mind – and then I just laughed out loud as I often do when I think about my Grandmother, known as Rita Pita. I found myself asking the question : WWRD*?


Whole Wheat “Quickish” Bread with a slab of Chocolate-Agave Frosting.

Just typing the words makes me smile, because I knew Rita Pita, and I know how ridiculous she would think my not baking would be. Don’t get me wrong, she’s looking at me from somewhere and is touched that I honored Lent for her (and secretly feeling puffed-up for all this blog attention), but she was the last person on earth who would condone calorie restriction, or not eating sweets, in her name. She would have scolded me for not baking, probably asked to “just lick the spoon” (a no-no as she was a long-time diabetic and fought against weight problems her entire life) and a cupcake making we would have gone.

So I made. I left the camera in the other room, and decided to only make enough for the parties, meaning for Guppy’s school and for my students. If you’re still deciding if I “sinned”, do weigh in the fact that I made them, and taught/hosted the parties, with a 38.5c fever, so it’s like it was a big punishment anyway (ha!).

As the drugs began taking effect, I decided that it was the long weekend, and I wanted to make something fun and tasty for us so on Good Friday I made the Cinnamon-Sugar Loaf. And it was Good. I also made some Molasses bars that I wrapped up and froze to use as quick breakfasts for me. The last of the holy trinity of baking was the “Quickish” Whole Wheat bread that was so easy to throw together and bake it felt sinful. Just be be sure I made up a batch of Chocolate Agave Frosting, using hazelnut flavouring and we slathered this “faux-Nutella” all over that wholesome Whole Wheat loaf. So good to be bad.

In case you haven’t guessed, the Cinnamon-Sugar Loaf, Molasses Bars, Whole Wheat “Quickish” Bread and the Chocolate Agave Frosting are indeed all recipes which you’ll find in the up-coming 500 Vegan Recipes, to be released in less than a year! Testing is almost done, and now I shall find myself also asking WWSE? What will Shellyfish eat?

Oh the extetentialist ponderings of the universe…

(What would Rita do for those of you lucky enough to have dodged this little phrase which to me was the epitome of the hypocrite’s guide to religious marketing “What would Jesus do?”)*

19 thoughts on “Lenten Confessions : WWRD? (What Would Rita Do?)

  1. I am glad to hear you are feeling better. The food looks so good. Hope you, guppy and Monsier Fish have a great weekend.


  2. I think you made Rita proud! I am glad baking helped you get through your recovery. There are times when I feel like I just need to bake too, there’s something comforting about it.

  3. All the baking looks great–I cannot believe you’ve only been at this for 2 years!! A great way to sublimate your energy, I’d say. And you should be proud! 🙂

  4. tu peux etre fiere pour un tas de raison, ma puce. tu fumais aussi? t’as arrete quand? j’ai pas garde la date, mais ca doit faire environ 10 ans. tu trouves impossible aussi d’etre autour de fumeurs maintenant? ca me file la nausee. j’te fais des bises.

  5. at least you broke out in style! i love your enticing cinnamon bread photos sprinkled throughout the post… it’s almost like, ‘yes, well, but just look! i had to!’ hahaha…

  6. i couldn’t agree more, Shelly – WWRD = awesome! and i too think you went about breaking your lenten fast in an excellent way! yay! makes total sense about your energy from running & training going into your baked goods – it really makes perfect sense. and it also really makes me think about some things i do in my life that are outlets for other energies. thank you, Shelly! i really enjoyed this post. it’s thoughtful and honest and good – and i love it! i’m glad you’re baking again – it makes me most happyfaced, indeed!

  7. I think you broke the fast in a delicious and honoring way. The goodies look great and your heart seems in the right place!

  8. Perfect nerfect! Rita Pita is proud of you, I’m sure! Having lost my gram exactly this time last year, your post was so nice to read as I think back to the things this week that my gram loved (and I love): chocolate and animals. Isn’t it great to be able to connect back to them through these favorites? I love that…let’s imagine both of our grams sitting around the table as we frost some cuppies! Mine would ask for the spoon too..but only if it’s chocolate..he he he!

  9. all of that looks great, especially the molasses bars and chocolate agave frosting?? YUM. I would have probably been the opposite and only lasted 5 days without baking!

  10. My two favorite things – cinnamonsugar and bread! You’re a good girl, no matter what they say ;-). I’m overwhelmed by how often I’m recently hearing others talk about nurturing thru homemaking. I can’t get it off my mind as I ponder the grad school option. Is you’ve probably guessed from my WIP post yesterday, my “gift” is not crafting (part of the homemaking holy trinity), still, I feel drawn to it as a way to nurture myself and my family & friends. Thankfully, I do a little better with the cooking/baking branch ;-).

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